Principia's original aluminium bikes always divided opinion here. Some loved their out and out stiffness; they rode with a brutal efficiency that was great for smooth roads and fast crit-style racing but if you had to spend longer days in the saddle they would beat you senseless. And so it was with some trepidation that we approached the RS C24T. Had the Danes built another monster?
Well, the C24T is a complete revelation. It's sharp and quick to turn, responsive under power, and the low weight of just 7.5kg makes it a joy on the climbs. The riding position is spot on too; a 56.5cm top-tube combined with a mid height (169mm) head-tube makes for a racy posture, though one that's not too extreme – in fact, it offers the ideal balance point between race and comfort. If we'd designed a custom layout for a bike we'd ride all day, it would pretty much match this.
Power response through the pedals is brilliant, and the bike's ability to accelerate as quickly as it does without any drama or movement off line is highly commendable. That it combines these traits with a smooth, damped, cushioning ride that's as good as that offered by the most dedicated sportive machine makes the C24T one of the best test bikes we've tried this year.
The frame has fully internal cable routing for the brake and drivetrain, making for a clean, smooth looking package. The finishing component choices by Principia are spot on too, with FSA's excellent SL-K range chosen for the bar, stem, seatpost and chainset, all coordinating with the bold red and black finish. We think FSA's SL-K components are among the best performing and best made on the market right now.
The remainder is all from Shimano's Ultegra stable: it's as smooth as ever and performed without problem. The DT Swiss R1800 wheelset is competent and well put together, if not the lightest. These wheels have stayed true and smooth and, judging by every other set of R1800s we've tested, we have no doubt that they'll last. But if the choice were ours we'd opt for a lighter set of wheels sooner rather than later to exploit the potential of a truly superb chassis.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.